US security forces thwarted an ISIS-inspired attack on Washington after months of surveillance of the suspect.
The FBI arrested a man from Ohio who had planned a mass attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, the FBI announced on Wednesday. The would-be terrorist reportedly received his inspiration from the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terror organization.
Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, allegedly planned to set off multiple pipe bombs on Capitol Hill and then kill anyone who survived the attack. The FBI said that he had purchased two semi-automatic rifles and about 600 rounds of ammunition. He was arrested after meeting with an undercover FBI informant.
“I believe we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks and everything,” Cornell allegedly told the informant. “I believe that we should meet up and make our own group alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves.”
He later told the informant that he considered members of Congress to be enemies. The FBI learned of Cornell and his Twitter feed from the informant, who was seeking “favorable treatment with respect to his exposure on an unrelated case,” the FBI report stated.
The FBI began to track Cornell when he voiced support for a violent Jihad on Twitter. He reportedly had contact with ISIS elements overseas.
Cornell is charged with attempting to kill a US government officer and with possession of a firearm in furtherance of an attempted crime of violence.
In an interview with CNN Wednesday evening, Cornell’s father said that there was “no way” his son could have carried out a terrorist attack. “He very seldom left the house,” John Cornell told CNN. “He’s a big mama’s boy. His best friend is his kitty-cat named Mikey.”
“He only had 1,200 bucks saved up to his name and the guns that he supposedly purchased today were over 1,700 bucks,” the father said. “I want to know where he got those other $500,” Cornell stated, claiming that his son must have been coerced by the FBI.
Lieutenant Kimberly Schneider, a spokeswoman for US Capitol Police, said on Wednesday that her agency cooperated with the FBI in this case. At no point did the matter lead to the taking of any security precautions above those normally in place, she said.
High Alert in the West
US security agencies have been on high alert in recent months following threats made by ISIS. They have been monitoring threats on major bridges. NYPD has been warned to stay alert, and Homeland Security issued a stern warning on possible ISIS attacks against military personal on American soil.
Western security agencies in general are on high alert and are bracing for a pending massive terror attack, especially in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the Hyper Cacher attack in Paris last week.